Thursday, June 15, 2017

Burning Red Tape

We seem to be beset with tragedies right now - if it isn't another terror attack then it is a tower block transformed into an inferno.  I always feel uneasy about making political points in the wake of such tragedies - it feels like exploiting the grief of the bereaved for partisan political advantage.  But, let's face it, the terrible fire in Kensington was the culmination of years of government cost-cutting and out sourcing of essential public sector work to contractors who are only interested in taking the money and doing the absolute minimum in return.  I'm not saying that this exactly what happened at Grenfell tower, or that it was the primary cause of the horrendous loss of life - that's for the official investigations to establish.  But we all know that the pressure on local authorities to cut costs and the obsession with cutting 'red tape' creates a dangerous environment for the poor and disadvantaged.  It's not as if we've not had enough warnings of the consequences of cutting that 'red tape': how many examples have we seen in recent years of fires in Far Eastern sweat shops which kill hundreds of workers, because there were no adequate fire safety measures in place?  And now something similar has happened here.

Because all that 'red tape' that business wants cut is, in the main, legislation put in place to protect us, both in our workplaces and our homes.  But the rich bastards resent having to pay for the 'red tape' because it cuts into their profits.  That's why they like to bang on about how we need to be more like one of those Far Eastern economies, with their 'light touch' regulations - so that they can exploit us more and put us at risk.  They want to take us back to the dark days of the industrial revolution, when health and safety in the newly mechanised workplace was non-existent, and the life expectancy of workers was frequently measured in hours, as they ended up mangled by the machinery.  So, next time you hear some moron going on about 'health and safety gone mad', just remember those pictures of that tower block on fire.  Just remember the pictures of its burnt out skeleton, because that's the inevitable consequence of subverting safety in favour of convenience.  You know, I never thought that I'd wake up one morning to find scenes of a residential tower block in the UK burning like a candle dominating the news.  Yet here we are.  We really should be ashamed that we've allowed it to happen.



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